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At long last, today is Election Day. After 18 months of the craziest, most stomach-churning election antics in modern history, tonight the Obama Era begins to draw to a close and we’ll get a brand new president of the United States.

If you haven’t already voted, then I humbly suggest you take care of that before the polls close at 8 p.m. You can read the rest of this column after you’re done.

The sobering truth is that no matter who prevails today, the deep wounds ripped opened by this contentious, poisonous campaign season won’t just magically be healed now that the election is coming to an end.

Neither side will calmly accept a win by the other side and go gently into that good night.

If Hillary wins, many Republicans will refuse to accept her victory as legitimate under any circumstances. This is largely due to Trump spending the last several months planting the face-saving idea that it’s impossible for him to lose unless he’s cheated out of the win by massive corruption and voter fraud.

Never mind the reality that fixing a national election in America is made virtually impossible by the fact that the election is decentralized, with all 50 states working independently of one another to hold their elections and count their votes.

It’s also worth pointing out that Republicans control the majority of state houses in the country, which means that the only plausible way for Hillary to rig the election would be if she somehow convinced 33 Republican state legislatures to betray their party and anoint her president.

That scenario seems more than a little unlikely.

And if somehow Donald Trump winds up running the table, winning every battleground state as well as flipping a blue state and beating the odds to become president, the cultural and international shockwaves of such an upset could have huge unforeseen ripple effects, from the financial markets to our alliances with dozens of countries around the world.

If Hillary wins, the Republicans have already made clear their strategy: doubling down on the relentless obstruction that caused paralyzing gridlock in Washington for the past six years.

They also plan to tie up Hillary in a series of rolling investigations to generate an unending cloud of doubt around her presidency, a strategy that could derail her administration’s focus and prevent her from getting anything accomplished – and perhaps end in an impeachment.

Oh, and the Republicans’ insistence that the American people should get to weigh in on the next Supreme Court appointment through their election of the next president? Apparently, Mitch McConnell neglected to specify that this deal was only valid if the next president was a Republican.

If Trump wins, he’ll be expected to make good on his big election promises of building a massive Escape From New York-sized wall across the Mexican border, and following through with the expulsion of 12 million undocumented immigrants through some sprawling new deportation force yet to be determined.

Both proposals would present huge practical challenges for our country.

If Hillary wins, the ominous talk of revolution we’re hearing from some white working-class individuals in social media could grow louder still. Expect gun sales to soar again on fears that the Second Amendment remains in jeopardy.

And if Trump wins? Expect the Black Lives Matter movement, the LGBTQ community, Muslim-Americans and other minority activist groups to push back against the perceived victory of white-grievance politics that threaten to reverse social progress and silence their diverse voices.

It would be nice to believe that our elected leaders could acknowledge just how close to the brink this election has brought the nation and exercise some sense of civic responsibility, encouraging them to work together for the good of the nation.

Unfortunately, in the current toxic political environment, compromise of any kind is seen as appeasing the enemy. Heaven forbid the minority party help the majority party get anything done nowadays. You can’t allow the other side a “win” under any circumstances. And if you do, then get ready to be primaried in the next election in favor of a more “pure” candidate.

Thing is, the path we’re on is unsustainable for a functioning democracy and getting worse with every election cycle. The polarization is deepening and the divisions are hardening.

In the old days, a war would pull the entire country together. Today we generate our own ideological wars, and the fallout is as bad as anything a foreign enemy could inflict.

It’s within our national interest to overcome the partisan rancor, respect our friends and neighbors, appreciate that everyone wants what’s best for his or her family and work together to find common ground to build upon.

Today, our country goes to the polls and votes for the vision of America its citizens most believe in. Tomorrow, the hard work of making that vision a reality begins.

Charlie Vignola is a former college Republican turned liberal Democrat. He lives in Fair Oaks Ranch, works in the motion picture industry and loves his wife and kids.

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  • indy

    It’s unfortunate that the folks wanting to lead us still are promoting outdated folklore which only further frustrates voters.

    Neither candidate grasp the globalization mechanics in place that are pushing jobs off shore and stagnating wages from unsustainable global population growth, currently 75 million net or so.

    Add to this the failure of the media to ‘inform’ the public . . . versus their constant showing of mindless political theater . . . leaves voters on both sides frustrated and left in the ‘blame game’ which solves nothing.

    When I watch the Fox presentations of Hillary’s campaign speeches, I’m astonished at the ‘hatred’ that is presented there as ‘comments’.

    Trump, on the other hand, is just a very wealthy person who lacks public office experience besides the many failures of the businesses he’s started not to mention the bankruptcies he’s filed. His use of ‘lawsuits’ is without equal showing a tendency to ‘bully’ those that he disagrees with abusing our courts and legal system.

    We’ve seen him ‘renegotiate’ contracts with small businessmen using his ‘market power’. In other words, when he owes people money, he offers them ‘less’ or wants them to ‘sue’ him (see the lawsuit issue above and on the internet).

    In any event, wealth isn’t a good indicate of economic, business, or management knowledge as his failed businesses and bankruptcies attest.

    Likewise, his threats against the ‘media’ challenges the Constitution protection of the ‘free press’ indicating his disrespect for our nation’s laws.

    His derogatory comments about blacks and Hispanics can be viewed on YouTube . . .

    There’s little to like about this guy other than he does address the public’s disdain of the current group of politicians from ‘both’ parties that have decided their specific partisan wishes are above the ‘public’s interest’. The problem, however, is that Trump is not the person to solve that . . .

    I’m voting for Hillary . . . realizing she is indeed a politician that goes with the polls. She isn’t threatening the media nor any given group in America. Her slogan ‘stronger together’ is matched by her rhetoric while Trump’s slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ is not.

    It’s important that voters simply don’t stop pushing for better governance once the election is over.

    You need to know what your representatives are doing and they need to know ‘you know’.

  • Brian Baker

    “It would be nice to believe that our elected leaders could acknowledge just how close to the brink this election has brought the nation…”

    Actually, the election is merely a symptom of that brink, a reflection of a reality that already existed. It’s a result, not a cause.

  • robert stauffer

    Apparently the DOJ has ‘ABC’ (already been corrupted).

    Can you imagine how lawless the FBI will get if Clinton wins?

    Talk about the brink……

    Don’t worry Charles, I won’t let you fall, even if the bottom drops out….

  • nohatejustdebate

    Just one month ago Vignola’s column was “The Week Trump Lost the Election”. Today he’s not so sure.

    Having wasted the last few minutes of your life reading the predictable fear and loathing from Democratic Voices, I would urge everyone to redeem that wasted time by reading one of the most brilliant perspectives I’ve seen this entire election season. It’s not about the candidates but about the American people. Here’s just a sample but a link is provided at the end. It may be the best predictor of what we can expect from tonight’s results.

    “Unfortunately, the analysts, the pollsters and most importantly the commentariat of the political class have never understood, and in fact are psychologically incapable of understanding what is happening. And for the entire cycle of this presidential campaign they have failed to grasp what was happening before their eyes – for it runs counter to everything they believe about themselves.

    In truth, they are suffering from cognitive dissonance believing in their righteous superiority and are not capable of realizing that it is they who have become the adversary of the American people. And therefore they have been wrong, in this entire election cycle, every step of the way.

    For them, American politics only began yesterday. They know little history and have no appreciation of the collective consciousness of the American people. Whether it is the campaign of Bernie Sanders, who came within a hair’s breadth of knocking out the coronated nominee of the Democratic establishment or on the other side, the emergence of the total outsider Donald Trump, the most improbable candidate of all. In truth, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, sucked from the same trough even if it was from opposite ends. But the critical point that is missed, by almost everyone, was that neither Sanders nor Trump created this uprising. They were chosen vehicles – they did not create these movements, these movements created them.

    In less than a day we will know how far this revolt has come. But, make no mistake, whatever the outcome, this revolt is not ending, it is merely beginning.”

    To read the full article, go to:
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/11/07/patrick-caddell-real-election-surprise-uprising-american-people.html

  • robert stauffer

    Indy should avail himself the LA Times poll which indicates Trump has 40% of the Latino vote. That is a 50% increase over what Romney got in 2012 (27%). Where is the damage from his ‘comments’?

  • nohatejustdebate

    Even on election day, Democratic Voices cannot offer one single word, not even a syllable, of why anyone should vote FOR Hillary Clinton. Not one, single word of accomplishments by the Obama administration and why his policies should be continued. Only dire warnings of the end of civilization if Trump should win.

    Charlie, the absence of your words speaks volumes.

    • phil ellis

      One think that Republicans and Democrats have in common. We can both find things to criticize Trump for, but neither can find anything good to say about Hillary.

      • Brian Baker

        Touché!

        • Brian Baker

          Or maybe in projie-speak: BINGO++++ BINGO++++ BINGO++++

          (And I only used half the IQ points…)

  • tech

    “… the Obama Era begins to draw to a close…”

    On January 20th, 2017, I will read and hear the words I’ve been waiting for, i.e. “Former President Obama”. Too, I’ll enjoy knowing he can’t commandeer Air Force One or Marine One and taxpayer funded resources for golf outings. He publicly states he’ll miss them and I’ll derive a certain satisfaction from that.

    May he fade into the mediocre obscurity he so richly deserves, causing his Cult of Personality sycophants to whimper.

  • nohatejustdebate

    Unfortunately, Barack Obama will now become a multi-multi-millionaire giving speeches all around the world supported by his Cult of Personality sycophants. However, I don’t think history will be very kind to Mr. Obama, especially as America is about to feel the full brunt of Obamacare next year.

    • tech

      He’s already wealthy as he sold his cipher biography. I don’t care if he profits. I just desire his irrelevancy to be complete and a rollback of all his policies.

  • There are no winners in this election, but it will be fun watching the entitled elitist democrat sycophants heads explode! Do you suppose they will call him “President Trump”?

    • Brian Baker

      LOL!

      Yeah, man…

  • nohatejustdebate

    Hey Vignola, how’s the schadenfreude?

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

    The schadenfreude was sweetest last night when watching far-left nut jobs like Rachel Maddow on MSNBC gagging on her words when Trump’s victory became official!

  • reason1

    Charles you have focused the entirety of your opinion pieces on sowing the seeds of partisan rancor, disrespecting the “other side” by attempting to demonize, marginalize and ridicule those with opposing voices while never trying to find common ground yourself as your articles almost never offered up intellectual and reasonable defenses for your sides positions rather, it was tear down the other side with outlandish rhetoric.

    So your kumbaya moment rings extremely hollow: “It’s within our national interest to overcome the partisan rancor, respect our friends and neighbors, appreciate that everyone wants what’s best for his or her family and work together to find common ground to build upon”.

    Let’s see if you turn the other leaf and chart a new path forward or…

    • tech

      Concur, Reason1.

      My expectation is Mr. Vignola will not recognize the revealed zeitgeist. He’s a one trick pony and not an original thinker.

      • reason1

        I agree. He revels in his beloved echo-chamber where critical thinking is unnecessary.

  • Nishka

    “Has America died?”
    YES AS OF TUESDAY NOV. 8 2016 !!!!!!!

    • Poor baby, do you need a safe space? You were so vocal before, what happened, pussy get your tongue?

  • dukie

    Reason1, that was very well put. You summed up Vignola’s columns perfectly.

  • Nishka

    “Poor baby, do you need a safe space?”

    YOU WILL NEED A SAFE SPACE WHEN THE THIN SKINNED ” HAIR GROPENFUHNER ” PUTS HIS FINGER
    ON THE NUCLEAR CODE !!!!!!

    • You know Lois, I didn’t vote for either Shrillary or Trump, because I couldn’t stand either one. I voted for Johnson. But given the fact that you will have to live the next four years hearing the words “President Trump”, I smile. I love watching smug liberal know-nothings have to eat their words, and be reminded of how stupid they are for the next four years!

      My God it’ll be beautiful!!